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Everest Metals shines light on WA rubidium potential

Everest Metals has completed drilling at its promising Mt Edon rubidium project. Credit: File

Everest Metals (ASX: EMC) is eyeing a potentially lucrative market for the rubidium from its Mt Edon project in Western Australia’s Mid West region after completing the first phase of its JORC resource drilling at the site.

The company says the project, which sits 5km south-west of Paynes Find, is emerging as one of the “highest-grade rubidium deposits in the world” as it continues to work on the best extraction techniques. Results from the latest drilling campaign are expected imminently.

The project’s potential has been underscored by the inclusion of rubidium in the United States Geological Survey’s list of critical and strategic minerals. As a critical component in various high-tech applications, it commands a market price of about US$1200 (AU$1790) per kilogram, a mark driven by its use in military, industrial and technological applications. Everest is continuing in a collaboration with Edith Cowan University Research (ECUR) to work on commercial and environmentally-friendly rubidium processing methods and is also gearing up to expand its exploration efforts in the next few months to further define the resource potential at its Mt Edon site.

Following the successful completion of phase one of our JORC resource drilling program at the Mt Edon Critical Mineral project, EMC’s geological team is now preparing to report the drilling results. Work is also progressing well at ECU as we unlock the most commercial and environmentally acceptable extraction techniques.
Everest Metals CEO and Executive Chairman Mark Caruso

The company delivered a maiden exploration target compliant with the 2012 JORC code in December last year, estimating between 3.2 and 4.5 million tonnes with rubidium grades ranging from 0.23 per cent to 0.35 per cent.

The target was based on a drillhole database comprising more than 600m of reverse-circulation (RC) drilling in the north-east corner of the Mt Edon mining lease, in addition to geological mapping. Recent rock chip sample results have shown rubidium concentrations as high as 2.3 per cent, suggesting the potential for significant upside.

The current target does not include untested areas along strike or at depth, highlighting the prospect for further resource expansion.

Everest has been active on multiple fronts. The company recently announced the spin-out of its uranium assets to a new IPO, Cobald Metals, and also reported rapid progress at its Revere gold project, north of the WA town of Meekatharra where it has so far stockpiled 8000 out of a planned 36,000 tonnes of high-grade gold ore for processing.

The market demand for rubidium is high, particularly as it serves as a viable alternative to caesium, which is becoming increasingly difficult to source. Rubidium’s applications span several industries including defence, aerospace, communications, energy, medical, special glass, industrial catalysts and electronic devices.

The growing interest in rubidium resources, particularly for new energy conversion and communication technologies, highlights the strategic importance of the Mt Edon project.

The global market is constrained by limited production and China current supply dominance. However, Everest’s developments at Mt Edon could significantly impact the market, potentially addressing the supply constraints and meeting the growing demand for the whitish-grey metal.

The Mt Edon deposit compares favourably with other global rubidium deposits, including Lepidico’s 80 per cent-owned, 8.9 million-tonne Karibib project in Namibia that features grades of 0.22 per cent rubidium, Aldoro Resources’ 4.9 million-tonne Niobe project in WA that is grading 0.17 per cent and the giant 234 million-tonne Chinese-owned Guobaoshan project with grades of 0.12 per cent.

As Everest continues to advance its Mt Edon project, the company’s efforts to develop a reliable supply of high-grade rubidium could play a pivotal role in reducing China’s control of the global rubidium market and help meet the critical mineral needs of the West.

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